By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Since the band's formation in the mid-Aughts, No Age's underground churn-rock dispatches have found champions in mainstream culture, inspired countless like-minded sound generators, and helped shiftless, insolent youth worldwide to stave off boredom, complete mix tapes, and blow out their cheap car speakers.
Drummer/singer Dean Spunt and guitarist/singer Randy Randall evince a sensibility that falls somewhere between slapdash hardcore punk, post-My Bloody Valentine shoegaze, and the virtuoso raw ground-round of early Dinosaur Jr. If debut Weirdo Rippers brought the pea-soup ruckus—burying thrashing three-chord hooks under piles of candied anti-fidelity—follow-up Nouns hinted that these California boys had more than a few tricks up their short sleeves, and considerable writing chops. This spring, No Age unveiled a stirring ear-fuck of an art-film score, and brand new disc Everything in Between finds the pair further refining their sometimes serrated, sometimes enticingly spacey song craft.
In an email interview earlier this fall, Spunt graciously clued City Pages in on Between, the L.A. duo's artistic autonomy, and skateboarding.
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City Pages: Is Everything in Between governed by an overarching theme or concept? If so, what is it?
Dean Spunt: No. We wanted to make a record that reflected where we have been since the inception of the band. More importantly, a snapshot of where we were since we made the Nouns record. Each song kinda has a theme. Overall, it's a collection of snapshots and moments and thoughts.
City Pages: What inspired the cover art for Everything in Between? It seems designed to send a message along the lines of "We're crumpling up everything you think you know about us, and starting from scratch."
Spunt: Ha, I like that perception! It really is just what it is: a shape that looks beautiful. Crumpled up, there's good texture to it, and conceptually there are different things we thought of, starting from nothing being one of them. I like to let it exist for you. The idea that this is a record, not what we are or what we do—we can do anything—and the cover kinda reflects that attitude.
City Pages: On a tour earlier this year, No Age opened for the temporarily reunited Pavement, which is huge. How did that come about? Are you guys fans?
Spunt: Randy is a huge fan; I never was until I got a CD at the Goodwill about two years ago. I didn't hate them; I just never listened to them. But when I put that CD in my car, it was hard to take it out. So good. We had met Spiral [Scott Kannberg] and Stephen [Malkmus] separately and they were cool guys; we both talked about playing together in some capacity, so then this Pavement reunion came up, and they asked us. Pretty rad.
City Pages: The score for the Rodarte/Todd Cole collaborative film Aenteni—which you performed live at the Red Cat back in March—is arguably your most intense, involving composition yet. How did you wind up working on this project? Have you considered taking your work more in that kind of sprawling, bloodshot-instrumental direction?
Spunt: We know Todd Cole, and he asked us, and we were psyched since we are fans of his work and also of Rodarte's. We were psyched to make something for them like this; we make a lot of things like that at home. Ideally, we'll play it out more; it gets difficult when people expect you to play fast loud songs, but we are slowly getting there. That is the other brain we have; we are slowly melding the two.
City Pages: I know skateboarding culture is a big part of the No Age ethos. Are you still able to find time to ride, with everything else going on in your lives?
Spunt: Not so much, actually. We have a lot of things to distract us from skating. We still get to kick around a bit. My knee is pretty jacked from skating as a kid, too, so it's even more of a reason to not try to wreck myself. But, there really is nothing like skating around trying tricks with your friends.
City Pages: What has being in this band been like over time, as you've evolved from this post-Wives project to an underground-L.A. rock-scene focal point to a band that The New Yorker profiles? Is there a sense of pleasant unreality to it all, or does it just seem normal? Do you guys work day jobs, or is No Age pretty much your sole vocation at this point?
Spunt: It has been really cool. Since we were never really involved in mainstream culture to begin with, it still doesn't faze us so much when something monumental happens in that world, you know? No Age kinda exists as it does with our friends, and people we collaborate with, and a certain community, and going beyond that and reaching people with art and music is pretty amazing. There is no unpleasant reality to it: We create it, we live in it, and we still don't do anything we don't want to do. That is the only rule. And yeah, this is our day job, and my label [Post Present Medium]. We run this thing, no manager, just us and our friends.
NO AGE play with Haunted House and the Blind Shake on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, at the 7th ST. ENTRY; 612.332.1775